In which the author has a question for — YOU!

This post is reflected, though slightly amended, from Facebook.

I have a question, O, Internets:

A little background, first. Many years ago, after we had sold our first three books, and been cut loose by our publisher — but hadn’t yet given up hope of finding a new publisher, and selling more books, it was said in some quarters that Miller and Lee were “writer’s writers” and as such would probably not be able to make a living, as writers. There’s some precedence for this, as writers read differently than even experienced readers, and tend to be delighted by V. Strange Things™, and in general Just Aren’t The Target Market.

There are a couple of cures for being a “writer’s writer.” One, of course, is to Take the Memo and quit writing. The other is to learn how to write to the market. We didn’t do either of those things, either because (1) we’re idiots (a theory that has some strong evidence supporting it), or (2) we knew that sometimes it takes longer than 2 years and/or 3 books to find a readership, and that, afforded enough time, we would find that readership.

So, here’s my question — actually TWO questions:

1. When did you — yes, YOU — start reading the Liaden Universe®, and!

2. Are you a writer?

79 thoughts on “In which the author has a question for — YOU!”

  1. I first read “Agent of Change” back in the early 80’s, whenever it first came out. Since then I constantly watched for new titles by Sharon Lee or Steve Miller and didn’t find them. I was thrilled when I finally found you on the internet and in the online bookstores. I have read everything available, many times, especially “Agent of Change”.
    Yes, I am an author of fantasy/science fiction. My main character is a very intelligent, telepathic flying horse and her mind-mate, a human-like alien named Joedon.
    My website is currently under reconstruction so the one I added to this message won’t be available much longer.
    Just finished two nights ago “The Gathering Edge” and can’t wait for Theo to get to Surebleak. Please write fast!

  2. When Local Custom and Scout’s Progress first came out in mass market paperback. Read a recommendation on a bog (AAR, I think?) that promised a mash-up of Regency and Space Opera and I was hooked.
    Don’t have the gene for creative writing, though I often wish I did. Do technical and academic writing, and editing.

  3. I picked up Agent of Change in a used bookstore in 1989, because I was a college student, and used bookstores were my speed then, and then I found your other books. And I was so glad to find you again, under MM, and then Baen.

    I do some technical writing for my job, but really, I am a reader and a re-reader, and your books have nuance that stands up nicely to re-reading.

  4. I first heard about your books on rec.arts.sf a million years ago, and started looking for sedond hand copies, which I never found. My first was the MM Conflict of Honors.

    I write, copiously, but do not describe myself as a writer. Make of that what you will.

  5. I started reading in December 2011 after Nalini Singh recommended the books in her blog. I’m a reader.

  6. I’m a reader, not a writer. I found the series several years ago when Nalini Singh recommended it in her blog. (I was too little to read Agent of Change when originally published.)

  7. I discovered you in 2014 with a copy of Fledgling on Baen Free Library. Have devoured everything else since then. I have both an ebook and audiobook copy of all of the Liaden books. Not sure how it was that I had not discovered you earlier. Dad loved sci-fi, mom loved Georgette Heyer (and spy novels).

    I am not a writer.

    But I am from Baltimore.

  8. I discovered you back in December of either 2010 or 2011 through a blog post by Lois McMaster Bujold (whom I had discovered by in the very late ’88s while working in a bookstore).

    I am not a writer, though I can write tech stuff and other nonfiction very well.

  9. I think I picked up one of the Jela books before 2010, but didn’t really remember it until I ended up with Fledgling some years later. Then I blazed through everything available, and have reread the serieses at least 4x since (usually starting at a different place each time)!

  10. Started when you did. I read the original three paperbacks back in the late 80’s until the covers fell off. I have been a fan ever since then.
    No. I do CAD drafting for a living and photography to keep me sane.

  11. Amazon tells me it was May 2002 when I first stumbled upon your Partners in Necessity omnibus via the “people who bought this also bought” links. After which I promptly bought everything else you had in print then, and in latter years as Baen e-ARCs once those became available. Heavy Sci-Fi & fantasy reader since the late 60’s.

  12. Started with Agent of Change from Baen Free library about 2014. I think my brother mentioned it. I’m completely caught up. Read and re-read.
    Not an author – at least – I try not to write fiction from the analytic work I do.

  13. I originally found ‘Agent of Change ” in a second hand bookshop 40 years ago and was hooked. I tried for many years to find other books by you both and when I did I was ecstatic. I love all your books and have copies of everything you have done. My daughter is also a fan.
    I am not a writer

  14. I started reading in about 2012. One of my wife’s best friends lent me a couple of the early Liaden books. I’ve read everything since.

    I’m definitely not a writer. I very much appreciate the polish that goes into your stories.

  15. Fledgling from Baen Free Library was my first one. I have them all and have reread some of them multiple times.

    No, I am not a writer

    Based on comments, it would be interesting to see what authors people were introduced to via the Baen Free library.

  16. A friend loaned me his copy of Partners in Necessity ten or twelve years ago, telling me I needed to read it. I’ve since acquired my own copy and many of the other titles–Jethri and Theo are probably my favorite characters.

    I write grants, but not fiction, and I didn’t start grantwriting until well after I got introduced to your books. The kind friend who introduced me isn’t a writer.

  17. I think I found you at Nina’s Used bookstore in San Diego (but I don’t remember when – but it was back before ebooks were a regular thing) and have sought out everything you’ve written since that first used book purchase.

    I am not a published fiction writer.

  18. I picked up on the liaden universe in December 2016, when a random look-through of old purchased baen ebook bundles yielded “Dragon Ship”. I enjoyed to read about a girl spacer learning to become a captain. Since I was very ill at that time, I purchased all other available ebooks and read them through. At least twice per, since my condition did funny things to my memory.

    And yes, I am a writer with four published fantasy novels and some more or less scientific articles for history and textile production over the ages.
    Currently, all my income is made with weaving and embroidery. 😉

  19. I’m a failed, failing, and quietly desperate creative soul. Writers write. I know objectively that I need to write — must write! — while anxiety paces like a guard dog between me and the narratives I need to tell.

    My university runs workshops intended to boost academic productivity, and I participated in one some five years ago (you get paid, so it’s a very good gig). Even then I was grappling with a stuttering problem as an academic writer, but I was genuinely dumbstruck when peers confessed to a deep-seated fear that they might run out of ideas.

    Such a prospect lies so far from my true north that the compass dial would need to spin wildly for a few rotations before settling 180 degrees in the opposite direction.

    I’ve been escaping reality at a rate that has alarmed me while my own frustrations continue straining at the leash and barking at me, forbiddingly.

    Liaden and Archer’s Beach: Agent of Change (Nov 17, 2015), Conflict of Honors (Nov 19), Carpe Diem (Nov 21), Plan B (Nov 23), I Dare (Nov 25); Fledgling, Saltation, Ghost Ship, Dragon Ship (Nov 26-30); Necessity’s Child (Dec 8). Carousel Tides (Dec 17), Carousel Sun (Dec 20).

    2016: Carousel Seas, Crystal Soldier duology, Alliance of Equals. 2017: Gathering Edge.

    Thanks for opening this question of readership and writing among members of your audience.

  20. I first discovered you in the early 90’s, and re-read & re-re-read Conflict of Honors until it fell apart. I wanted a sequel SO much! I love all your stories, but that one? I still re-read it more than I reread the others.

    I am so very, very, not a writer. It can take me an hour or more to compose an email (or a web comment), because it’s such a struggle, and it always comes out incoherant at first.

    My observation, as one who loves children’s stories, is that the cleverest stories are both shallow and deep: they work well as an interesting story when read with little understanding, but (much like the real world), also offer delightful extras to those whose minds catch every detail, watch continuity, see patterns in information and sift for every nuance. Yes, many writers have that kind of brain, but not all of us who perceive like that are articulate, let alone storytellers.

    But about simple/deep: It’s rare. Usually simple books are simple: fast, easy reads; and complex books are slower going. Your books are both. Fast, easy reads that are also deep and complex. It’s part of why they’re so re-readable. It was like ten years before I stopped spotting overlooked subtleties in every rereading CofH.

    Imho, you both are, and are NOT, a writer’s writer. You are, because you have the kinds of polish and loving details writers adore, but you are also not, because the friendly nature of your pacing & storytelling is very readable, on many levels.

  21. I started reading your books sometime in the past. Meisha Merlin had just re-issued your books in trade paperback, and I saw a post on usenet in rec.arts.sf.written about it. I spotted Agent of Change in the bookstore, and browsed the first chapter and it hooked me. So I ended up buying the trade paperbacks, and then buying some of the chapbooks, and then buying the E-books from embiid and then more of the E-books from Baen. Like they say, “The first hit’s free.”

    By the way, I saw this article in Scientific American:

    The first thought that crossed my mind, was that must be where Theo and Bechimo were hanging out.

  22. I first found Liad when Baen published the 2 5-book bundles, and proceeded to devour everything you’ve written since, and am now purchasing eArcs and Audible editions as they become available.

    I am not a writer.

  23. My son bought the first book we read while he was still in high school. It was Carpe Diem and he thinks it was about 1990. We have tried to get everything else in the Liaden Universe as they came out. Nobody in the family is a writer.

  24. I found Fledgling at my local chain bookstore when shopping with c’mas gift cards. It was a relatively new release -faced out- and I liked the cover art, then the description, so I bought it and read it and loved it. I then went online to see if there was a 2nd/follow up…and discovered BAEN e-books…and that Saltation was ONLY available online. I had, up til then, resisted ebooks, but I HAD TO HAVE this story. I had to download software to my laptop, figure out how it all worked and THEN I could read my story. Which was wonderful and lead me to find out there was this HUGE space opera around my lovely SciFi coming of age story, and said…”Yeah, no, not for me, thanks.” (So 2010ish I think?)

    BUT because I had done all that work, I started plowing through the BAEN free library (not including Agent of Change), and then Amazon and iBooks free e-books. Eventually, 3-4 years later, I was flopping about having run out of free stuff to read and decided to give Agents of Change a chance. Within a week or so I was a complete Liaden convert. Within a month, I had read everything Lee and/or Miller to date and started following this blog. I read every new thing as soon as it officially hits BAEN (not eARCs) or this blog, and then have to go read other stuff while I wait. At least once every 6 months I re-read a big Liad swatch to console myself.

    I am a compulsive, addictive reader who has hated writing my whole life. Sadly, my job for the last 20+ years has required me to be a good technical writer. In the past year, in part due to learning about the process of fiction writing from you-all, I have begun to write. It’s mostly derivative and/or fanfic (general audience, thank you) but I am happily/cheerfully working to develop a writing process and joy in writing. In particular, tfw when u wake up with an idea and it just POURS into the page-that is so way cool. I am also amused when my characters tell me stuff or I discover it-like when my new character needed to swear and did so in Spanish..which shocked me, because I had no idea. 🙂

    I don’t know what “writers writers” are supposed to be like, or to do for other writers, but I point to you-all as one catalyst to getting me writing (and no, I don’t even think about Liad fanfic because you said please no. I mostly write ghost stories based off of Seanan McGuire’s Sparrow Hill Road book and her Incryptid series…although I do have some sea ghost ideas inspired by your descriptions of the Maine coast…way down on the list somewhere.) Thank you-all for being you!

  25. I am not a writer. I first discovered your Liaden books in the public library in the early 1990s, and have been reading and re-reading them since.

  26. A die hard science fiction reader, I discovered Isaac Asimov with “Caves of Steel” in 1958 and was converted. I came across “Carpe Diem” in 1990, was delighted, found and read the other 2. I have everything you have written. Thank you for such an enjoyable universe.

  27. I’m not sure when or how I found you, but my guess would be on Baen. It was before Fledgling was published. I read the ebooks and have started buying the print books. I am a retired elementary school librarian, not a writer. I think I would do well as a technical writer, but I have no interest in writing fiction. I’d rather read it!

  28. I first read Local Custom about 11 years ago; got sent there by way of “Regency romance in Space” but have always liked SciFi. I was totally taken by your books immediately and I now own as many as available in hardback as well as audio and some in paperback. (Also some in ebooks, but don’t I like reading in e format). I am not a writer, just a life long reader; have read thousands and thousands of books. Not Moby Dick however. xo, Hope

    P.S. It is my dream to have all of your stories on audio some day; for those of us struggling with our eyesight.

  29. I don’t remember the exact year (possibly in time I’d be able to hunt it down) but it was somewhere between 2000-2005, more likely in the middle. I’d been given a book voucher for a local SF bookstore from someone who had borrowed a book of mine to go overseas and it had not survived the trip (*grrr*). I picked up ‘Carpe Diem’ because I’d heard about the books on the Lois McMaster Bujold mailing list (in the days when I had enough time to read that) and thought I’d give it a try. Very quickly hooked.

    Don’t categorise myself as a writer. Only lengthy work I’ve completed was a PhD thesis.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.